Dogs and children can be wonderful for each other — when both parties are well-mannered and the interactions are supervised. But they can also be a deadly combination, a tragic fact that has hit one family especially hard this week.
On Sunday morning, a 20-year-old man was watching his niece, 16-month-old Kavay Louis-Calderon, at his house on Westmoreland Street in Akron, Ohio.
Police said the toddler’s parents had dropped her off that morning for her uncle to babysit, according to WKYC-TV.
At some point, a 20-year-old female acquaintance came to his door and the two started arguing outside, the report said.
When the uncle returned to the house, he was met with a terrible scene. The dogs had attacked the sweet little girl. He ran to a neighbor for help.
Authorities believe the dogs were triggered by the fight outside and transferred their energy into attacking the toddler.
Police arrived around 10:30 a.m., and the girl was immediately taken to Cleveland Clinic Akron Children’s Hospital, where she died.
“This is a nightmare that they’re going through,” Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett told WJW-TV. “They’re destroyed by this, they’re absolutely destroyed by this. Nobody wanted this to happen to this child.
“The little girl was left inside the house with the two family pets and as this disturbance, fight, was occurring outside, it’s believed that the dog — dogs reacted and turned their aggression to this beautiful 16-month-old little girl.
“I’m reluctant to lay blame or responsibility on anybody right now. At this point, the family is mourning the loss of a 16-month-old baby. But rest assured, we’re going to get to the bottom of what happened.”
The neighbors are heartbroken and perplexed, wondering why the family even kept the dogs after an incident that occurred during the summer, when at least one of the dogs attacked a mailman.
“Bit him bad,” neighbor Jerry Smith said. “Bit his hand, bit his leg. They [didn’t do anything] about it, but they don’t deliver mail over there anymore.”
“I didn’t let my grandkids play outside just because I didn’t know if the dogs were in the house,” said another neighbor, Richard Turner.
“Because of the incident with the mailman, they should’ve, I think, gotten rid of the dogs,” Turner said.
“And that’s what I can’t get out of my head: Her screaming and the 911 operator carry — carrying that baby out. That’ll always be with me.”
No charges had been filed as of Thursday, but the dogs were seized by Summit County Animal Control. According to WJW, once the investigation is complete, it’s likely one or both dogs will be euthanized.